Monday, November 21, 2011

How Much Money Do Freelance Writers Make?

Freelance writers are people who write for a living without being employed by one specific company. These people may work on the web or in their home towns, depending on where they decide to have a career. I'm a freelance writer, and I've been doing this for almost three years now. This job has the potential to be one of the most lucrative careers you will ever come across, but only if you know how to become a success with it.

Perhaps the biggest question I get asked about what I do is, "How much money do freelance writers make?" As tough of a question as that is to answer, I'll do my best to give it a shot. Here is a look at what you might make if you decide to work as a freelance writer.

Hourly Rates and Fixed Prices

One of the biggest factors in determining how much money freelance writers make is the way in which they get paid. Some writers get paid by the hour, logging their times online and getting paid based on that amount of time. Other writers get paid per article that they write. For slower writers, hourly rates tend to work out better because they are not penalized for working slower than other people. For efficient writers though, fixed price jobs tend to pay more for them in the end.

Let me break down that concept a little more for you. As a starting writer, I was probably able to get through two 500 word articles an hour. I got paid $.01/word when I first started freelancing, which means that I made roughly $10 an hour. If I had found a job that paid $12 an hour to do the same work, it would make more sense for me to take the hourly rate. Nowadays, when I can write four to five 500 word articles an hour, it would make more sense for me to take the fixed price pay. Then I'm making $20-$25 an hour, rather than $10. Get the idea?

Hourly Pay Expectancies

Unfortunately, a lot of clients want to pay really low hourly rates for online writers because they know they can get people in other countries to write for $1 to $5 an hour. You can usually find places that will pay at least minimum wage online, but it may take you a bit. If you have some experience to show people, you may make significantly more than that. Just don't expect to get paid a lot for an hourly job if you're new to the game. You won't be earning a software engineer salary right off the bat.

Fixed Price Pay Expectancies

It is hard to say what the average pay rate for freelance writers is because that all depends on the client and the type of writing involved with a project. Technical articles (like drug descriptions and scientific tutorials) typically pay more money than "fluff" articles (articles used just to get a keyword on the web). You may get paid $10 for a 300 word technical article, where you only make $3 for a fluff article of the same length. You won't truly find out what you can make until you get involved with the job.

On overage, I would say that starting pay for freelance writers is about $.005 to $.01 per word in an article, meaning that a 400 word article will pay between $2 and $4, depending on the client. Once you have a little experience under your belt, you'll make more money. Most writers will bump up from $.01/word to $.015/word. Then they move up to $.02/word. That is roughly the industry standard for most work online, but there are clients that pay higher. I have seen a few jobs that pay $.03/word to $.05/word, but most of those were for technical jobs. If you work with a company long enough, you can earn more money based on raises - just like you would with any other line of work.

That Still Doesn't Answer the Question…

As I said before, there is no definitive answer as to how much money you will make as a freelance writer. There are too many variables in play to pin that out. If you're good at your job and you actively seek out clients, you should be able to make very good money in this profession. You just have to dedicate yourself to the career. Otherwise, you may want to make this a side job until you get enough work to sustain your living habits.

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